What happens when two landscape design students fulfill, get married, and start some ambitious experiences in real estate? An eco-friendly and magnificent renovation into a cabin and a beautiful backyard, of course.

As couple weeks ago I, together with 11 of my previous landscape design classmates and their families, traveled the magnificent country roads of Charlottesville to descend upon this charming cabin. The ride involves winding through country roads where Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Tufton Farm (where they grow the heirloom plants for Monticello), also Jefferson Vineyards are tucked along the rolling hills. If you continued on a bit, you’d hit the lovely Morven Estate, Ash Lawn (James Monroe’s home) and Blenheim Vineyards (possessed by Dave Matthews; I urge the 2010 Viognier).

A happy pack of Jack Russell Terriers makes the most of the tapis vert. But until we get into all that, let us take a peek at exactly what the owners were working with… Well, wait, before that, I must add that”tapis vert” is really a fancy way of stating a tight and exact expanse of yard that packs a big design punch. O.K., to exactly what the owners had the afternoon of the real estate closing…

Before Photo

This is exactly what the 1940s cabin looked like before my buddies worked their magic. By comparing this with the previous image, it is possible to see that they replaced and moved the rear doorway, added a little bathroom on the right side, replaced the windows with lovely 2-over-2 energy-efficient windows, and replaced the siding using poplar siding and cut in the Appalachian Sustainable Development mills in southwest Virginia. They could salvage the original metal roof.

Wondering about that slope? They had to make 20 dump trucks’ worth of fill to help make that tapis vert I mentioned.

Now that we have had a sneak peek at the home before and after, let us back up to your home’s approach. As you pull up the driveway past the home, the hillside backyard to your own left tells you that you’re going to experience something very special.

You also see this beautiful staircase which connects the basement laundry room to the terrace area. The few collected the stones on the measures in the woods and fields around the land, and they think it’s some kind of shale. “It’s not a fantastic construction stone, but it’s free,” the owner says. It surely looks good also.

If you turned around, you’d get this beautiful hillside garden view. The low wall can also be made of shale located on the house.

The driveway contributes to a parking court behind the house. From there, stepping stones lead you through a narrow shaded area to the magnificent back garden. Should you need a little shade on a hot Virginia summer afternoon, a hammock and a long bench found on Craigslist await.

Once you reach the end of the shady route, the tapis vert and undulating border gardens expand before you. The scale of the lawn and gardens are just right in proportion to the home. The border between the lawn and beds is marked by Pennsylvania bluestone.

The thick border gardens include coneflowers, daylilies, hydrangeas, amsonia, verbena, bronze fennel, salvia, and a lot more perennials and shrubs. Their bursts of colors, wide variety of leaf shapes and colors, and undulating mounds create a beautiful composition.

If you have a look at the previous image and then this one, you get a feeling of the topography. The previous above shows the woods uphill, then here you see the horizontal yard the owners created by using their earthwork intervention, then the hillside garden, the driveway, and a low floodplain of a creek below.

The home is sited within this darkened spot between the woods and the floodplain, and the way that they designed the landscape provides the home and garden a marked location of its own.

A grassy area between the edge of the woods and the border backyard provides another gathering place.

The terrace is a good spot for gathering. A box backyard (on the left) creates an edge for the terrace and provides a spot for growing tomatoes. Pots containing basil are also tucked round the terrace for simple picking, so the terrace is just 1 ball of mozzarella cheese short of supplying a Caprese salad.

The view from the rear patio.

Jacob Kline Monarda, a.k.a. Bee Balm, had the most glorious blooms this June.

This principal living room used to be a warren of four little dark rooms (a kitchen, a dining room, a bedroom and a bath ) with low ceilings. Part of the renovation has been opening all this up. You can see here that they also opened the ceiling up into the beams.

Here’s the exact same space taken in the opposite end of the space. There are two bedrooms on the left side, which opening you see on the rear left contributes to the bathroom.

A farm table and a candle chandelier make for cozy dinners.

Incidentally, the farm at which The Waltons was filmed is not too far away.

Here’s a peek into the restroom, where an antique bureau provides extra storage. They placed a hallway to the left which contributes to the front of the home if they ever need to create yet another improvement. This sort of long-term preparation is likely to make renovations much more efficient in the future.

All these beautiful floors are reclaimed heart pine.

A mirror crafted from recycled boat wood adds texture and color to the bathroom.

Gratuitous Jack Russell shot. All these dogs are so sweet, they make it worth having to throw blankets over most of the upholstered furniture; the green plaid blanket above the seat is really kind of prep-wonderful. Additionally, the owner says not to be fooled by their own lounging in this movie. “They have a vital role in the backyard: They keep the bull away,” she says.

The pair has a knack for blending household hand-me-downs, antiques, upholstered IKEA pieces, artwork and natural elements with aplomb.

They love to bring their outside finds indoors and utilize them as decoration.

In the same way, botanical drawings are a favorite. The paper lampshade was a marriage gift from a close friend who left it herself.

While the home is open, light, and the walls are white, the unique furniture and fabrics add style. Overall the interior of the cabin is at once modern, warm and country.

A downstairs bedroom serves as the proprietor’s bright and light office.

A staircase contributes to the master loft upstairs, which used to be the attic. If necessary, railings and a safer stairs will be additional, but at this point they’re not needed.

The attic was turned into a cozy master bedroom.

The few loves to play audio, out of fiddle to Scottish snare drum . This bedroom corner provides some storage room for some of their tools. Because they are so well-traveled (Cuba, Peru, India, Nova Scotia — that they are tough to keep track of), I have a tendency to assume all the furnishings with international flair come in far-flung experiences. But this seat came from World Market.

A view of the living room from above. We houseguests would be the reason it’s looking particularly lived-in, since I took this shot in the end of the weekend. It’s proof positive that this is a relaxing spot where everyone gets really comfy.

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